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Motorola Introduces Android Phones, Social Software 195

Posted by kdawson
from the all-thumbs dept.
ruphus13 was among the readers sending word of Motorola's Android handsets yesterday, along with a "socially aware" application layer called MotoBlur. The Motorola Cliq is expected in a few weeks. T-Mobile is Motorola's carrier partner in the US. A second Android phone will be marketed in other countries under the name Dext. Reuters called the market's reaction to Motorola's announcement "muted." "Dr. Sanjay K. Jha, Co-CEO of Motorola and CEO of the company's Mobile Devices division, unveiled Motorola's Android platform play. ... Key to both of the phones, and key to Motorola's overall Android strategy, is a new interface and application layer called MotoBlur. It's focused on 'a single stream' for social networking features, software updates, messages, syncing, e-mails, videos, photos... The Cliq phone has a 5-megapixel camera, slide-out keyboard, 24 frame-per-second video capabilities, GPS, a headphone jack, an advanced browser from Google, integrated Exchange service, and Google roaming services including Google voice search, access to maps, Google calendar, and more. It also provides one-click access to Android Market and the thousands of Android applications there."
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Motorola Introduces Android Phones, Social Software

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  • by filesiteguy (695431) <kai@perfectreign.com> on Friday September 11, 2009 @12:23PM (#29390439) Homepage
    (Sorry, had to do it!)

    Seriously, I wonder if this will become at all embedded in corporate america. So far, all I see (and use day/night) are blackberry devices. How long will that last? I'd love to see an android device in my business but have doubts about the adoption rate.
    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      Android, WebOS, Moblin, Maemo... when are these 'convergent device' OSes going to converge to a single Linux distro?

      LSB, we have a new problem for you to tackle!

      (oh, and when are we going to see these as desktop OSs?)

      • I have no idea about a moblin=based device. I run that in VirtualBox with some interest.

        As for an android-based netbook, I don't think there's enough interest. I saw some rumblings a few months ago - http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10297268-1.html - but that's all.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ickleberry (864871)
      Runs the Linux Kernel but really not much else. The rest is a branded browser-based pushing platform for Google Web Services and a mostly proprietary touch-screen UI.

      Maemo seems more 'open' and customisable at this point. Would love to see maemo run on non-touchscreen devices and without any animated effects
    • by rickb928 (945187)

      I don't see the demand for corporate workers to have Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, et al available 24x7.

      Yet.

      If you can get yer consultant to turn Twitter into a corporate must-have enablement disrupter, then you'll see these in Corporate America.

      Of course, around here, we just raise our voices a little bit, and everyone knows our business. No twitter required. Even the tall cubicles can be circumvented with a change in volume, or standing up.

      Since we don't get Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, etc here a

      • lol!

        Twitter at work? That shouldn't be.

        *cough* tor *cough*

        Actually I can tweet (though I usually don't) and use FB from the blackberry. Being a PHB, I'm in an office and removed from my staff. They can yell but I don't hear them. I only can yell at my secretary.
  • "MotoBlur"? (Score:4, Funny)

    by johndiii (229824) * on Friday September 11, 2009 @12:31PM (#29390511) Journal

    Why name your UI innovation in a way that suggest that it makes things less clear? This looks like an interesting phone, but that seems to me to be a weird name for a UI. Also, I'd prefer to sacrifice the keyboard for a thinner profile, given that it has at least as good a screen keyboard implementation as the iPhone.

    • by dbcad7 (771464)
      You have two camps .. We have the people who complain about all the Android phones that don't have a physical keyboard, so every phone that doesn't have one they say "fail" .. but then we have the people who realize that the touch screen keyboards are pretty good and it makes the phone bulky and say "fail"... I agree with you about the "blur" being a bad name.. I think it's really more about the integrated facebook/twitter/email/messaging system which is nice and everything, and the blurring of communicatio
    • The "blur" might be referring to speed. Like how some things are so fast all you see is a blur.

  • by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated@em a . il> on Friday September 11, 2009 @12:32PM (#29390521) Journal

    I can't say I'm surprised. After the RAZR fad passed and the Q flopped, Motorola had very few alternatives to turn to; Windows Mobile wasn't one of them. This could be their great restart, and I'd really like to see them make a strong comeback into the market.

    Maybe they could set another first and make the Android flip-phone (like they did with the MPX200)...?

    • by Churla (936633) on Friday September 11, 2009 @12:50PM (#29390735)

      I don't know about calling the RAZR a "fad that passed". That series of phones, in my experience at least, are very solid phones. Also moderately customizable if you want to get into reflashing them. I still have a V3i I keep in my desk drawer "just in case" my G1 should fritz out on me.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        There are silver linings in the RAZR series, a few phones (V3i and V3x in particular) can be tinkered for FANTASTIC battery life, and they have the largest screens of their cousins that run the same software. With that said: That particular software is total garbage. Most models (my V3i included) don't even support stereo bluetooth audio. I never had to reboot my phone less than once a week, more if I was making frequent use of Java applets. Sometimes the phone would just refuse to transmit any Audio in one

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Halotron1 (1604209)

        I think the fad slowed down, because eventually everyone that wanted a RAZR had one.
        In the slim phone market I think the RAZR really beat the crap out of the competition.

        Then like always, you get bored of your current gadget and want a new one.

        I had a RAZR and loved it, then my work offered to buy me an iPhone.
        The iPhone is cool for listening to music, and facebook, etc. but sometimes I miss the simplicity of having just a really well designed slim phone.

    • by glop (181086)

      Engadget has a comparison of all the Android devices to date and they all are very similar at the moment. I guess it's good news to some extent as it means the apps don't have to cope with different screen sizes or even different CPUs.
      But at the same time, why bother with Dalvik if they were going to all target the same Qualcomm/ARM chip at the same frequency? They could have just used gcj and compiled to ARM...

      Hopefully this is going to change and the manufacturers are going to come up with exciting Androi

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by GooberToo (74388)

        But at the same time, why bother with Dalvik

        They are not all targeting the same chips or even CPU.

        Android now runs on or is in the process of running on X86 and MIPS. Additionally, alternate ARM-variants (non-Qualcomm CPUs) are also in use for Android phones and devices. With the release of the Android Native Development Kit [android.com], you can officially target specific CPUs with native code but it creates additional work and headaches for developers. Not to mention, when the market is upgraded to become NDK aware, a

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Actually Engadget seems to really like it. I hear that it will be "free" on T-Mobile with a two year contract.
      This really good be a great phone. Motorola phones are well made and usually have great call quality. The only thing wrong with them right now is that they tend to be boring.

    • by DomNF15 (1529309) on Friday September 11, 2009 @01:49PM (#29391411)
      The Razr was an innovative phone when it was released, no one else had a phone like it (similar to the iPhone when it was released). It was copied and mimicked ad-nauseam by a number of cell phone manufacturers. Motorola's problem is that they rode the Razr wave all the way back to the beach before they refocused any attention on R&D and their upcoming product portfolio. I worked for Moto Mobile Devices for 4 years, and towards the end, all the big wigs were telling us we had nothing in our 3G GSM product pipeline, and that's when I made the decision to leave. The Cliq, while seemingly a nice device that appears to at least somewhat compete with the iPhone, is by no means groundbreaking. It may help Motorola to start selling cell phones again, but I doubt it will bring them anywhere near the level of success enjoyed during the Razr centric times. To see them back on top, Motorola will have to continue delivering phones that best the Cliq and drive the market.
      • by MrCrassic (994046)

        I completely agree. I always felt that every new Motorola phone after the RAZR was...a derivative of the RAZR (or something like it). I wish that they had spent more time improving the firmware on these devices, or, at the very least, spending time on making other phones people would actually want.

      • The Razr was an innovative phone when it was released, no one else had a phone like it (similar to the iPhone when it was released).

        Would you mind elaborating on this? I'm not familiar with the Razr and after reading the Wikipedia article about it, I don't understand what made it stand out. It seems to be the same as any other phone out at that time, near as I can tell.

        • by DomNF15 (1529309)
          The Razr's innovation was its physical form factor. At time of launch, it was touted as the thinnest flip phone in the world. The software was the same crap that was being loaded onto all Moto GSM handsets during that time period. I believe it may have also had a unique metallic keypad but don't quote me on that. Nonetheless, it had some of that magic that made the iPhone a runaway success.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dbcad7 (771464)
          It was thin and wide instead of narrow and bulky.. In my experience (V3).. It also had good call quality, and was pretty rock solid and would not drop calls like some other phones.. The UI was ok, but a little odd to me.. But from a design perspective it felt good in your pocket or using it.. and was a top seller because of all the things I mentioned, regardless of the UI.. It also had a larger screen inside than other phones when it came out, as well as the little screen outside that would display the inco
    • by TheMCP (121589)

      I'm with you - this could be a winner. I owned a RAZR - for one night. I bought it at 4pm, hated it so much that I decided within an hour to return it, and took it back the next day. The software sucked. BUT THE HARDWARE WAS AWESOME. It was slim and light and comfortable and felt like it was built like a tank - in fact, it was the most solid feeling cell phone I ever used. Later, I owned the Motorola branded "hip-top" phone using the Danger software... I didn't love the software and eventually replaced it w

      • by GooberToo (74388)

        I owned a RAZR - for one night.

        I'm with you on that. I bought a RAZR because it was strongly recommended to me by co-workers. It was the worst phone I ever owned. The sound quality was horrible and it was plagued with all sorts of oddities. The battery never really fit properly and it would turn it self off from time to time. Navigation would tedious and painful. Settings were all over the phone. Even worse, reception was simply horrible! The only thing nice about the phone was the form factor.

        But I have ow

  • The motodetails were motoblurred in the motoannouncement. Would be interesting to see how it compares in meaningful features with other Android cellphones and from other platforms (iphone, latest blackberry, nokia n900, etc).

    Also a social network specifically only for users of their phones starting from that model could not end being a so good idea, specially with already widely used social networks with mobile clients (i.e. facebook) and probably future ones (i would bet that Google wave will have an andro
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday September 11, 2009 @12:40PM (#29390607) Homepage
    Attention Google: if you want Android to challenge Apple, you have to get it on Verizon. Verizon is the only company with an infrastructure that can kick AT&T in the teeth.
    • http://androidandme.com/2009/09/news/10-reasons-to-start-saving-for-the-verizon-motorola-sholes-android-phone/ [androidandme.com] I think the current word on the street is early December?
    • by mmacdona86 (524915) on Friday September 11, 2009 @12:49PM (#29390723)
      Unfortunately, Google's mission "Don't be evil" fundamentally conflicts with Verizon's "Be evil".
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by poetmatt (793785)

      Say what? There's already one coming: (gizmodo link) [gizmodo.com] in a month [androidandme.com].

      Open handset alliance has members of basically every phone provider, so don't think that a singular google phone will, nor will have to, take over the iphone. They'll simply have one to fit every person's preference, unlike the iphone.

    • Agreed. Google also needs to buckle down and make their own damn hardware. The OS is nice, the alliance is nice, but the fact that different phones all support different features of the OS leads to market confusion. If Google made a smartphone, their brand alone (sitting at the forefront, not a footnote to Motorola) would get a lot of people interested. My experience leads me to believe that they'd do a good job with the hardware interface, even if it just ended up being an iClone.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sycorob (180615)

      Has anybody in the Bay Area been on AT&T both before the iPhone, and after? How did the quality of the network change?

      My point is, people keep claiming that the iPhone is beating the hell out of AT&T's network, especially the data service. As a long-time Verizon customer, I love the service, and I'm curious whether a really solid smartphone would kill Verizon too.

      I don't remember hearing constant bitching about AT&T's network before the iPhone became widely popular. Just sayin'

      • by mrjohnson (538567)
        Oh, no it was horrible. I remember getting dropped calls about every 5 minutes when trying to call home. That was a couple years before the first iPhone hit San Francisco.
    • by j_kenpo (571930)

      I use an Android device on Verizon now (HTC Touch/XV6900). Its fine for the built in Google apps, but the Android Marketplace has thousands of apps that were obviously designed for 1 device, the G1. with all the screen clipping issues and resolution issues, most of these apps are just plain junk. And if they ran it on Verizon, I'm sure Verizon would do all those great things they are know for, such as locking down the GPS functionality to only work with VZNavigator. Android has the feel of a cobbled togethe

    • by GooberToo (74388)

      Attention! Verizon has already announced at least one Android phone will be available this year. Leaks suggest Verizon will have one to three phones on network, this year. If only one shows this year, expect more Android offerings on Verizon from the first and second quarter of next year.

      Verizon has been begging Apple for a piece of the iPhone pie for a while now. Each time they get the middle finger from Apple. Android is thought to be Verizon's F-U reply. Most are expecting Verizon to push Android very ha

  • Seems like an interesting idea to me. There's no point attacking the iPhone head on, and this niche seems to be a good one to pick up. I know I wish my phone had better notification, and if it looked cool too, even better.

  • There's a "muted reaction" to these for the same reason Android device adoption has been disappointing.

    Tying yourself to one of the smallest two of the "big four" wireless carriers in the United States (don't know if T-Mo or Sprint is smaller) is NOT a smart way to gain widespread adoption.

    I would love to give an Android phone a chance for my next phone, but right now it's looking like my next phone (which will replace my current AT&T Tilt) will be AT&T's next WinMo-based HTC device. T-Mobile is NO

  • by alen (225700) on Friday September 11, 2009 @01:00PM (#29390845)

    Nice thing about the new Android phones is that developers are writing apps with work together with other apps. Almost impossible on the iPhone unless Steve Jobs rids himself of his total control fixation. Give it 2 years or so for this tech to mature some more, get more apps out there and have HTC and others build phones with a lot of storage like Apple does and i'll be junking my iphone 3GS come 2011 when my contract expires.

    iPhone is nice even for all it's shortcomings, but Apple's total control fixation is going to hurt it in the long run and leave it as a niche device only for the cult of steve fanboys

    • > Give it 2 years or so for this tech to mature some more, get more apps out there and have
      > HTC and others build phones with a lot of storage like Apple does and i'll be junking my iphone
      > 3GS come 2011 when my contract expires.

      Apple is adding features much more quickly than any of the other providers. Yes, it's true, some of those should have been in the first version. But that's besides the point, the issue is the velocity of change.

      So the question is whether or not you think the Android platfor

      • To clarify that last statement: you talked about a 2 year window, and during the last 2.x years they sold 30 million, so in another 2 I think 15 to 20 million is fair.

        So you're looking at a market of 50 million iPhones. That's a LOT of developer interest, both outside Apple and within. If inter-app programming actually adds value (debatable IMHO) then there's every reason to believe Apple can add it within that time frame, and every reason to believe the 3rd party developers would have put it to considerabl

    • by metamatic (202216) on Friday September 11, 2009 @02:41PM (#29392055) Homepage Journal

      iPhone is nice even for all it's shortcomings, but Apple's total control fixation is going to hurt it in the long run and leave it as a niche device only for the cult of steve fanboys

      The sad thing is, Apple is repeating exactly the same mistakes it made in 1984/85.

      Back then, Philips and Sony came to Apple and asked about licensing MacOS. Jean-Louis Gassee told Jobs that Apple was so far ahead, the others would never catch up. So they kept an ironclad control over the Mac OS. And the entire rest of the industry went with DOS, and then Windows... and even though both were inferior, with Apple vs the entire rest of the industry, the end result was inevitable, and Mac OS became a tiny niche product.

      Apple may be able to beat RIM at the smartphone game, but they'll never beat RIM, Nokia, Motorola, HTC, Samsung and Sony together, not in the long run. The iPhone will become the niche, and Android will become the 90%.

  • It's about time... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gillbates (106458) on Friday September 11, 2009 @01:10PM (#29390955) Homepage Journal

    Disclaimer: I work for Motorola. I'm giving up mod points to post this, as I think some people would consider it a conflict of interest if they knew.

    That said, I've been long awaiting this change. I like the feature set - it approaches a consumer class camera (5 MP, 24 Hz video). It looks very functional, very usable. I'm not usually one to get excited about phones, but this looks quite good.

    I've heard a lot of people bemoan the proprietary state of cellphone systems. Well, here's your chance to buy a Linux based phone, and show the manufacturers what you *really* want.

    • Sounds good. I'd like to do that, with a few qualifications. I need to be able to buy an unlocked one for ~ $300 and be able to modify the OS and applications on it. It has all of the other qualifications.

      Do you know if they'll provide an unlocked one?

    • by mrjohnson (538567)
      It's going to TMobile... again. I think that'll limit uptake quite a bit. The HTC Magic uses the same processor and a bit less storage. Where's the beef?

      I like that it has a real keyboard but I have strong reservations about giving all my account details away. Plus, I like that the services are separate. It solves the whole Mom-saw-my-drunken-photo problem.

      I'm underwhelmed by this announcement...
    • One of the common complaints about the G1 was that, while people liked the phone, they decided the battery life was just too short to be useful. How does the cliq fair in this department? You can have great features, but if the battery dies in 2 or 3 hours, no one will care.

      Also, IIRC, another common complaint was no standard headset jack (I guess you could use a headset, but it had to plug in through USB port or some proprietary port or something, or else use BlueTooth). Did Moto learn from the HTC mistake

      • by GooberToo (74388)

        One of the common complaints about the G1 was that, while people liked the phone, they decided the battery life was just too short to be useful. How does the cliq fair in this department? You can have great features, but if the battery dies in 2 or 3 hours, no one will care.

        This is a myth and absolutely not true. It has not been true since Android 1.5 was released. Battery life is fine for all available Android phones. If the G1 has a battery life too short, then so does the iPhone. If you run the G1 with a

        • by TheABomb (180342)
          It is simply not realistic to obtain facebook, twitter, weather, email, text message and mms updates, on 3G and/or WIFI, every every couple of minutes on any smart phone and expect it to last more than a day.

          If you're so ego-obsessed that your tweeting sessions go on for more than a day without sleeping, the battery life of your phone is the least of your worries.

        • by mrjohnson (538567)
          Agreed. The battery issue is vastly overblown.

          My original one lasted a couple days with regular use, talking all my push gmail, gtalk and everything else.

          That's not that bad. I eventually bought a third party upgrade battery for it and it lasted 3-4 days. That would be nice to do on the iPhone.
    • Well, I hope you (Motorola) can put a bit of fire below Nokia's and Samsung's asses again... you know, for a better market. :)

      Did you hear someone scream something like "eye foam"?
      No?
      Me neither. ;)

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      I am quite interested in this phone now. I have been considering an iPhone, but they are still pretty expensive and I don't like the idea of having to install iTunes and not being able to use SD cards to expand the storage, or even replace the battery easily.

      Android is very attractive because it seems to be more open than the iPhone OS and Google allow apps that Apple reject, but until now all of the available Android phones have been pretty average. The iPhone 3GS has a pretty good camera, so let's hope th

  • Translation: "No one gives a shit".

  • How am I gonna do ssh on that? It doesn't even have number keys. It's everything that's wrong about the Blackberry plus the extra reliability issues from moving parts.

  • Interesting.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mewsenews (251487) on Friday September 11, 2009 @01:33PM (#29391205) Homepage

    I'm a bit of a Motorola fan, I've used their cell phones for years, but their problem for a long time has been that they produce solid hardware and total crap software.

    So now we'll have great Moto hardware with wonderful Google software -- perfect world, right? Except Motorola decides to go and add "MotoBlur" to the Android software, and who knows how much of a train wreck that will be.

    Anyways, I'll very much be looking forward to reviews of these devices.

    • by Rennt (582550)
      You might have to jailbreak it first, but I'm sure you'll be able to reflash it with the standard Android firmware. Or even better - something like cyanogenmod, now with Brain Fuck Scheduler!
  • I am looking for a new phone because my existing HTC smartphone (Win based) is crap and doesn't run putty. I need to be able to ssh into my linux servers and do remote work/maintenance on them. I would like to be able to run the CLI tools (irssi, mc, etc..)

    I also need the following: Gmail contact/calender sync. (2-way), wifi VoIP

    Nice to have: Gtalk and/or Skype
    What phone should I get? The Nokia N900, this one, or anything else? I would even be willing to 'give-up' cell-phone usage in exchange for excel

    • by Tyr_7BE (461429)

      Once you're ssh'd in, wouldn't you have those CLI tools available?

      With the exception of the CLI tools, sounds like you're looking for one of the new blackberries. I use mine to ssh into my servers all the time, and it does pretty much everything else on your list. I've even done some basic vim over ssh, although at that point it's worth it to switch to a laptop.

    • by Xtifr (1323)

      I dunno, the keyboard on this one looks really crappy compared to the G1, which is what I have, and even with the G1 and ConnectBot [google.com], vi can be a bit awkward. If ssh support is really important, I would probably look at the HTC android phones or the N900 before this, but my opinion is mostly based on photographic evidence, so if anyone has hands-on evidence that contradicts my speculation, you should probably believe them over me.

      Gmail, Google calendar, and GTalk are (of course) well-supported on Android.

  • MotoBlur:

    Now everything is where you want it - in one place, on tap. Your friends, pics, emails, messages, and Facebook(TM), MySpace and Twitter happenings. Motorola CLIQ is the first phone to come with MOTOBLUR, the only service that can sync them all, with continuous updates and back ups. There are no logins or apps to open, and your data's always safe. Talk about socialized.

    In other words, every Blackberry made in the last three years, at least. A unified messages folder - what a novel idea.

    • by itsdapead (734413)

      In other words, every Blackberry made in the last three years, at least. A unified messages folder - what a novel idea.

      Its not even new on Android: My HTC Hero does all that (Facebook integration in the contacts app, upload photos to Facebook/Flickr direct from the camera app). Bad news is that I got a facebook account mainly to try it out. I already feel dirty...

  • Interesting, how not Linux dies for getting king of the desktop, but the desktop dies (allegedly) and Linux becomes king of everything else. Phones, settop boxes, netbooks, you name it...

    I'm very pleased with the development.

    But of course I'll wait for Netcraft to confirm it. ;)

    • Phones, settop boxes, netbooks, you name it...

      I'm very pleased with the development.

      Yeah, but the downside is that those devices are often DRM-infested (TiVo, for example). In fact, Android is hardly the first popular Linux phone... it's noteworthy because it's the first popular Linux phone that's actually hackable.

    • I wish I were as pleased as you. About a month ago I went to look at Linux netbooks at Micro Center. They didn't have any. It turns out that enough people were buying the Linux ones, then returning them on finding out they didn't have Linux, so they were "refurbishing" them by installing Windows and then selling them at a discount. Huh?

      (The salesman informed me that the refurbished units with Windows preinstalled still included a Linux install disk...and then I walked away.)

      But in the handset arena I suppos

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